Qatar Airways boss in 'heartfelt apology' for sexist remark
06 June, 2018, 18:44 | Author: Samuel Sharp
Asked how to reduce gender inequality in the aviation industry, CEO Akbar Al Baker said, in reference to Qatar Airways: "Of course it has to be led by a man because it is a very challenging position".
The company says about 44 percent of its workforce consists of women and claims to be the first airline to employ female pilots and engineers.
Qantas' chief said at the same press conference that the Australian carrier had achieved a strong turnaround in profits partly due to its pursuit of diversity, with women making up 40 per cent of senior management.
Addressing the International Air Transport Association's male-dominated annual meeting, Al Baker was asked what could be done to address the lack of women in Middle East aviation.
Akbar al-Baker has since apologized for his controversial June 4 remarks.
In 2017, he apologised after calling U.S. flight attendants "grandmothers" during a trade row with United States airlines, prompting an airline union to accuse him of sexism and age discrimination. The highest-profile female chief executive in the industry in recent years has been Carolyn McCall, who ran the low-priced carrier easyJet before leaving to lead the British broadcaster ITV this year.
"I think it's all going to come from the leadership commitment to ingrain that change throughout the organization", she said, speaking at an event focused on gender equality in the sector at the meeting in Sydney.
He eventually went on to tell Bloomberg: "We actually encourage women".
Last December, the airline had said it would like to add more flights to India in the future as the country is an economic superpower and an important destination for it. India has permitted foreign investors, barring foreign airlines, from owning up to 100% stake in local carriers.
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USA and some European airlines have accused Gulf carriers of unfair competition based on subsidies and social policies, but Walsh - whose group counts Qatar Airways as a shareholder - said he believed Gulf airlines competed on an equal footing.
FYI: IATA has only two women out of total 31 members.
"I was only referring to one individual", he said in an interview with Bloomberg Television.
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